DHAKA: Newly appointed High Court judges Ruhul Quddus Babu and M Khasruzzaman, both debarred from taking oath still for controversies over their political past, are likely to be administered oath next month.
They are expected to take their long-awaited oath just after the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice, Mohammad Fazlul Karim, on September 30, according to a competent HC source.
On April 13, President Zillur Rahman appointed 17 new additional judges to the High Court for a period of two years. Chief Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim administered oath to 15 of the newly appointed judges individually at the judges’ lounge of the Supreme Court on April 18.
Though the judges of the HC division attended the swearing-in ceremony, the Appellate Division judges stayed away. The appointment of the 15 judges was made effective from the days of their taking oaths.
The Chief Justice preferred not to administer oath to the two left-out judges-designate in the face of strong criticism over their appointment from the opposition side at the bar.
Immediately after the appointment of the two, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Khandaker Mahbub Hossain met the Chief Justice to request him not to administer oath to the duo.
“It’s a victory of the law and the constitution as well,” said Khandaker Mahbub, in hailing the apparently defiant stand taken by the Chief Justice.
The newly elected pro-BNP-Jamaat leaders of the SCBA have strongly protested the appointment of Ruhul Quddus and Khasruzzaman for what they said “their controversial roles in the past’’.
On the other hand, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affaires barrister Shafique Ahmed has outright rejected all the allegations against the two HC judges. “The allegations brought against the two judges are false and baseless.”
The justice minister, who was the immediate-past president of the Supreme Court bar, hoped that the present chief justice would administer the overdue oath to Ruhul Quddus and Khasruzzamn within his tenure.
Attorney-General Mahbube Alam also expressed his great desire that the incumbent chief justice will administer oath to the two judges without delay.
Ruhul Quddus was an accused in a murder case while Khasruzzaman branded for unruly activities, including vandalizing and kicking on the door of the then Chief Justice on November 30, 2006 amid an unruly demonstration by the lawyers backed by the then opposition party, Awami League.
Addressing a press briefing, Attorney-General Mahbube Alam has, however, said, “Ruhul Quddus was accused of killing a Shibir activist in Rajshahi University on November 17, 1988. Many students in our country were accused in different cases because of their political affiliations. But, as a lawyer, Ruhul is an honest and talented personality.”
Regarding the allegations against Khasruzzaman, he also said that the video footage on him is “false and fabricated” as there is no Thai door at the office of the Chief Justice.
BDST: 1252 HRS, SEP 23, 2010.